Mark Stone was the overtime hero Thursday morning in Slovakia, as the Canadians battled back from a 2-1 deficit, tying the game with just a fraction of a second to go, and then scoring the winner in the extra frame. It was not a prototypical World Championship showing from Canada – who played without leading point scorer Anthony Mantha, who was serving a one-game suspension for a check to the head of Colin White – but the boys in red and white got the job done.. it just took a few minutes longer than originally planned.
After falling behind 1-0 late in the first period on a Sven Andrighetto power play goal, Canada pulled even as Westwood’s Mark Stone redirected a Dante Fabbro point shot past Swiss netminder Leonardo Genoni five minutes into the second frame. Then with just three seconds to play in the middle period, Nico Hischier jumped all over a Nino Niederreiter rebound, punching the puck past Matt Murray and into the Canadian net, restoring Switzerland’s one-goal cushion.
Although not able to find the twine on a myriad of third period chances, the Canadians needed every last second to tie the game. Stone corralled a loose puck and found fellow Manitoban Damon Severson (Brandon) at the point. With five seconds to play he hammered a long-range slapper that was immediately blocked. He picked up his own rebound and blasted it once again. The puck trickled through Genoni and past the goal line with just 0.3 seconds left on the clock.
Just over five minutes into the 10-minute overtime period Pierre-Luc Dubois and Mark Stone found themselves on a two-on-one heading up ice into the Switzerland zone. After drawing the defender away from Stone, Dubois slipped his partner a cross-ice feed, before the big Manitoban banged in his third point of the game, sealing the deal for Canada with 4:53 to go in extra time.
With the win, Canada will now move on to the World Championship Semifinal and play in the second semifinal game, as Russia is currently the highest ranked remaining team. Potential opponents for the Canadians include the Swedes, Finns, Czechs and Germans. Should Canada win, the World Championship final is set for Sunday, as is the Bronze Medal Game.